Countdown to Beijing 2022 | Slovenian coach hopes for a China snowboarding medal

Source: Xinhua| 2021-12-18 19:17:44|Editor: huaxia

By Marja Vogric

LJUBLJANA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Slovenian snowboarding coach Peter Kotnik was appointed China's head coach in 2015 in the hopes of helping the country land its first Olympic medal in snowboarding.

Kotnik, currently at a World Cup event in Italy's Carezza, told Xinhua in a telephone interview that he hopes up to six Chinese snowboarders will qualify for the Olympic parallel giant slalom.

"Our basic goal is for the competitors to qualify for the Olympics, after that we can start thinking about a podium," he said.

Qualification is an extra hurdle for the Chinese team since they have not been competing for over a year since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they need to get good results in the remaining competitions ahead of February's Winter Olympics.

According to Kotnik, China's top contender is the female snowboarder Gong Naiying who has achieved a number of good results over the past years.

But Kotnik said the epidemic has made it harder for his athletes to prepare for the Olympics.

"If you do not compete for over a year that can be compared to an injury, you need time to come back," he said.

However, Chinese athletes are familiar with the Olympic snowboarding site and with the characteristics of the snow in China, which could work in their favor, said Kotnik.

He also pointed out that China has over the past years invested a lot in its ski resorts and infrastructure so the number of skiers and snowboarders in China has increased strongly.

According to Kotnik, the preparations for the Olympic Games have been smooth, and he expects the Games to be organized well. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Sports,Olympics,Slovenia